Kansas May Delay $99 Million Pension Contribution

Kansas is facing a $290 million budget hole, and state Gov. Sam Brownback has proposed three ways to pay it down.

One proposed option included delaying the state’s next $99 million payment to its pension system – a move considered irresponsible by numerous experts briefed on the matter.

More from the Kansas City Star:

Gov. Sam Brownback’s recommended fixes for the latest shortfall center on budget maneuvers and spending cuts, and all have drawn controversy.

[…]

The first option was to sell a portion of the state’s future payments from a national tobacco settlement, which Kansas dedicates to early childhood education programs, to bondholders for a one-time infusion of $158 million. It’s a contentious idea.

A second option would delay a $99 million state payment to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System until fiscal year 2018. Current retirees’ benefits wouldn’t be affected by the delay, he said.

A third option would make 3 to 5 percent cuts to most state agencies, including funding to K-12 public schools and state universities. A 3 percent reduction to K-12 schools would be about $57 million.

[…]

Putting off a payment to the state pension system is troubling, he said. Even if the state makes up the payment with 8 percent interest in fiscal year 2018 as planned, that just puts stress on a future budget, said [Dave Trabert, president of the conservative-leaning Kansas Policy Institute.]

The option of delaying a $99 million payment to the state’s pension system is irresponsible, said [Annie McKay, executive director of the Kansas Center for Economic Growth].

Brownback said he is not willing to roll back the tax cuts he enacted in 2012 and 2013.

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